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Thoughts on exams

April 12, 2015 | 0 Comments

How well we do for finals can be boiled down to 3 aspects: preparation and mental fortitude (50%), aptitude and application (30%) and luck (20%). One might question why aptitude and the ability to apply knowledge acquired – factors which would intuitively appear to be the most determinant – constitute only 30% of the academic success equation.

Well, the 30% is meant to represent the tipping point between the A and B students, with the difference often proving to be far below such an estimation especially when the formula is applied to students studying in universities or polytechnics. This is based on the premise that students would have, over the years, gained better know-how in anticipating what the markers expect as well as fine-tuned their personal strategies for studying and scoring.

As for preparation and mental fortitude, they are correlates to one another because the maintenance of routine studying requires great discipline and immense willpower. I’m sure we have all gone through the phase where the idea of abruptly studying harder than usual bursts into cosmic brilliance within the confines of our mental galaxy only to find our efforts flagging as days (or even hours) go past.

And finally, luck definitely plays an important role in deciding how well we do for finals. There have been occasions where I was fortunate enough to spot certain essay questions and was thus able to rely on an established framework in answering them. Similarly, I have often felt that seemingly innocuous miscellany such as poor handwriting or the marker(s) having fortuitously marked a paper before yours that was less articulate or substantial may decide the difference between half a grade.

Key takeaway? Shore up your mental fortitude by keeping to daily schedules and weekly goals!


Mr Lee Kuan Yew

March 23, 2015 | 0 Comments

I’ve read so many tributes online and offline on the passing of this great man but it was the guitar-rendition of ‘Home’ that really struck a chord in my heartstrings and made me feel what words had failed to – that Mr Lee Kuan Yew, for many of us, epitomises perseverance in the face of adversity and home.


Pliant Grey Matter

March 4, 2015 | 0 Comments

Ok, this song is legitimately the hardest song I’ve ever tried snapping to. But wow, can you feel the intensity as the tempo keeps increasing and increasing and increasing?

Just listening to this while studying Personal Property Law makes me feel like I can smash mercantile agency, estoppel and all the various interlocking principles and exceptions into pliant grey-matter, ready for absorption and application.


Literally ‘cool’

June 22, 2014 | 0 Comments

Wristify is a thermoelectric bracelet that regulates the temperature of the person wearing it by subjecting their skin to alternating pulses of hot or cold, depending on what’s needed. This product is created by a team from MIT which claims that their invention would make air-conditioners obsolete.

I was particularly impressed by this paragraph:

“The human body and human skin is not like a thermometer. If I put something cold directly on your body at a constant temperature, the body acclimates and no longer perceives it as cold. Think of what happens when you jump in a lake. At first, it’s bracingly cold, but after a while, you get used to it. By continually introducing that sudden jolt of cold, Shames discovered, you could essentially trick the body into feeling cold. Wristify basically makes you feel like you’re continually jumping into the lake–or submerging into a hot bath.”

Essentially, Wristify is a tool which exploits a particular perceptual phenomenon that happens to us so as to induce relative perception of ‘cool-ness’ or ‘warmth’.

However, while it would be great to feel cooler despite being in hot weather, I doubt that it would affect the rate of perspiration on the body. Even though our bodies will feel relatively cooler after being subject to those sudden jolts of cold, we will still be feeling warm in absolute terms, and perspiration will still ensue so as to help our bodies lose heat.

Accordingly, in hot and humid countries like Singapore, where we would still be heavily perspiring in this suffocating weather even if we feel cooler than usual through using Wristify, it is unlikely that the invention would be a good substitute for air-conditioners.



On Beldent’s Chewing Gum Ad

June 19, 2014 | 0 Comments

Take 2 mins to watch this advert:

Interesting, isn’t it? It is definitely a beautiful and beguiling piece of art.

It insidiously inserts the impression that chewing gum makes a person look more approachable. However, on closer observation, it is likely that the Left Twin (the twin on the left) was asked to pose with a look that is duller or fiercer than his or her normal resting face, while the Right Twin poses with a slightly more cheerful facade or assumes one closer to his normal resting face.

The slight disparity would likely polarise responses (to the voiceover questions) towards the intended positive or negative range. After audiences have been primed to think of the Left Twin as more introverted and serious and the Right Twin as more sociable and extroverted, the ‘halo’ effect kicks in and leads viewers to associate all positive traits with the Right Twin.

In short, the ‘halo’ effect is a cognitive bias that allows one trait to overshadow other traits. For example, attractive people are often perceived as having attendant positive traits such as increased intelligence and better social behaviour as compared to less attractive people, even if it isn’t true. In this case, after being led to think of the Right Twin in a more positive manner, subsequent answers relating to questions on sociability or niceness could be easily assigned to either twin.

Aural associations with positional placement, i.e. apparently more sociable twin located on the right (because if the Right Twin is ‘right’ or ‘alright’), may also have been intended.

Thereafter, having convinced themselves that chewing gum is correlated with sociability, audiences may thus be more likely to purchase a pack of chewing gum on the way home.